Scott & Jake Friedman
1) How did you get into directing?
Directing was a natural progression for us from our work in design, animation and development. Our company Wildlife operates by a motto: technology changes, story doesn’t. We’ve always felt that narrative was the key component to any of our work whether it’s a title sequence, animated short, an immersive website, a live-event experience or even a rich-media ad. In this day and age, every experience has to be engaging and make the viewer feel something. Moving into live-action was an obvious step for us to continue to tell the stories we wanted with another toolkit.
2) What is your most recent project?
We recently shot an interactive short film for the Lifetime network to promote one of their hit shows. It was a great opportunity to write for and direct the show’s stars and create an interactive live-action experience that gives fans of the show a chance to engage directly with the characters and generate custom, shareable content. It really is the perfect project for us with the blend of narrative, live action, design, animation, VFX and creative development to create a seamless interactive platform that puts the viewer right into the story.
3) What is the best part of being a director?
The best part of being a director is being able to work with extremely talented individuals willing to help us bring our vision to life and seeing the incredible end product that results from finely tuned collaboration. We get a ton of satisfaction from seeing others share our ideas and bring their own spin to the story, the costumes, the acting and all of the other disciplines that help to make something memorable and moving.
4) What is the worst part of being a director?
The worst part of being a director is also one of the most alluring aspects. Rarely are the time or resources available to tell exactly the story that’s in your head, but these challenges and the creative problem solving they demand make succeeding at this process that much more rewarding. It’s a different mindset than our roots in motion graphics, VFX and development where decisions can be slowly measured and evaluated, but we’ve adapted these skillsets into smart, rapid decision-making as live-action directors.
5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
At the moment we’re focusing on directing more commercials as well as short form content for the web. We’re eager to push the limits of narrative across branded content but especially in the interactive format — the industry is just scratching the surface of what’s possible and we’re excited about new technology and bandwidth developments that make engagement and user interaction even more immersive. We’re currently developing our first feature concept in the background while we continue to grow Wildlife and exploring the boundaries of the narrative format across live-action and other mediums.
6) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates most with you?
Our dad was a writer and editor for TV and film for many years so he’s certainly been a big inspiration for us. His experiences in the industry keep us grounded and his hard work and never-say-die attitude has instilled a relentless work ethic in both of us. He’s a tough critic and has always pushed us to be better and never settle for just good enough. If he thinks something needs work or that it falls short, he has no problem telling us that. That said, he’s always been very supportive of us following our passions and when he thinks something is good, you know it’s really good.
7) Who is your favorite director and why?
Rian Johnson is someone who’s made some very exciting films, has an incredible eye and always seems to be able to tell a big story without the resources of a “big” film. The Coen Brothers bring a balance of comedy, action, quirkiness and drama that is always disarming and able to balance all of the emotions that are a part of life. Chris Nolan is a flat out genius. From Memento to The Prestige all the way through Inception and The Dark Knight, he’s got an incredibly cerebral take on story and filmmaking and everything he does has a fresh feeling to it. Others that make us giddy: Terrence Malick and guys like David Fincher, Alfonso Cuaron and Vince Gilligan.
8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Favorite film: The Thin Red Line/Blow/Clockwork Orange/Raising Arizona/Brick/The Proposition/Gattaca/Memento/Road Warrior/The Good, The Bad & The Ugly/Children of Men/Her
Favorite music video: UNKLE - Rabbit in your Headlights, Radiohead - Pyramid Song
Favorite branded content: Google - Parisian Love, Halo 3 - Diorama, Coke - Happiness Factory, Gears of War 3 - Turning Into Dust, Nike - Fate, Honda - Cog, Got Milk - Aaron Burr
9) Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
Scott began his career as a designer and animator invigorated by the amazing title sequences that went through a renaissance in the late ‘90s and Jake worked in the interactive world before we joined forces professionally once and for all as Wildlife.